Fun with pond dipping

With the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trails Association Summer Program

What can be more fun than catching bugs from a pond? That’s what I thought while pond dipping with students from both Saltcoats and Churchbridge elementary schools this spring as part of my programming as the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trails Association Summer Program Facilitator.

On May 17, the Saltcoats grade 6, 7, and 8 students trooped down to the shoreline of Anderson Lake where they had the chance to learn about bugs previously caught by a YFBTA member and to catch more bugs of their own in the lake.

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Some favorite findings from the students were the larva form of a Predacious Diving Beetle (a bug sometimes referred to as a “Water Tiger” because of how vicious it is), a dragonfly nymph (caught by a grade 6 student), and the Caddisfly larvae (a bug that is excellent at camouflaging with the bottom of the pond). Though favorites, “The Best Catch Award” goes to a grade 7 student who caught a small fish! On June 4th in Churchbridge, the grade 1 and 2 student’s favorite bug to catch was a big leech!

Throughout both mornings, the students were engaged in compelling conversations as they discussed the importance of preserving small water bugs. The students in Saltcoats were only able to catch four different types of bugs in Anderson Lake, and they saw how the lack of many bugs in the water served as a sad indicator that the water must be polluted. In Churchbridge, the students learned that water bugs are very high in calcium, so they are a very important food source for mother ducks who need the calcium for their eggs. Because of this, the students were very concerned for the care of the bugs, and they made sure that I returned the bugs back to their home in the pond after the day was done.

Who knew that bugs could teach us so much? Hopefully these students won’t be afraid of them anymore and remember how even small bugs benefit our world in big ways.

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